Week in Review

Davis gets Posted

Buzz of the Week
Most feds like to stay off the front pages of the newspapers because it often means something has gone wrong. By contrast, most politicians don't mind publicity -- most of the time. But in these days of ethical hypersensitivity, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) could not have been pleased with the July 28 edition of the Washington Post, which featured a Page 1, below-the-fold story headlined, "Wife, Friend Tie Congressman to Consulting Firm." The 4,350-word story suggests Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, provided additional access to clients of ICG Government, a consulting company led by Don Upson, a friend of Davis. Upson is a former congressional staff member and former Virginia technology official.

Putting specifics aside, the Post's story seems to be a harbinger of things to come. Ethical questions are increasingly pervasive in the business of government, perhaps more so than ever before. One reason is that procurement reforms enacted in the past decade encouraged agencies to buy the way the private sector does. But another reason is that the government is outsourcing more work than ever before.

These ethical questions could be the real test of whether decade-long procurement reforms continue or whether the government returns to a more regulated process.

Weighty issues, indeed.

Other noteworthy news
The Army created a program office for its Single Army Logistics Enterprise, which will be a factory-to-foxhole management system for all Army supply movements.... The Homeland Security Department is expanding its Automated Biometric Identification System to include biometric and limited personal information collected for immigration, intelligence, law enforcement and national security programs.... Thirty-two DHS contracts worth $34.3 billion involved significant overcharges, wasteful spending or mismanagement, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.... A special panel created under the Services Acquisition Reform Act recommended that Section 803, a Defense Department rule, be applied governmentwide to promote more contracting competition.... DHS officials proposed expanding a biometric program created to screen international visitors to include additional groups such as legal permanent U.S. residents, people seeking asylum and refugee status, and others.... The consulting firm Input reported that money spent through the General Services Administration's information technology schedule contracts will drop to about $16.3 billion, as spending shifts to other contract vehicles.... The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives won't be required to pay 50 percent of the broadband charges that ATF employees incur when they work from home.... The federal government failed to meet its small-business contracting goal for the sixth consecutive year, according to a report released by Democratic members of the House Small Business Committee.... The FBI hired Joseph Ford to be associate deputy director and oversee management of the bureau's employees, budget and IT infrastructure.... Hewlett-Packard agreed to pay about $4.5 billion to buy Mercury Interactive, which makes application management software.... The Senate directed DOD to adopt the Department of Veterans Affairs' electronic health record architecture in its version of the fiscal 2007 appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee's Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.... The Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command will require that all new computers contain the Trusted Platform Module for hardware-based security.

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